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A sea of red shirts, a raucous crowd and cheers heard for miles started the 2013 football season off with a loud BARK when the new Hiram Gridiron Club helped create an exciting, rejuvenated game day experience for Hiram football fans.
The Hiram Gridiron Club is an organization dedicated to promoting and increasing support for Hiram Terrier football. The Gridiron Club is comprised of parents, Hiram alumni and former Terrier players, coaches and friends of Hiram football who share a common interest and passion for advancing the Terrier football program.
The club’s inaugural season of 2013 was a successful one. Contributions of time, talents and money allowed the Gridiron Club to demonstrate support for the team in many ways. Fundraising activities included a golf outing, 50/50 raffles, program sales and a golf ball drop during half-time, as well as the sale of Gridiron Club t-shirts for signing up as a club member. Many donations from local and regional businesses, along with donations from parents and friends of Hiram, also contributed to a successful first year of fundraising for the club.
Proof of that success was evident in the many club accomplishments in the 2013 season. The Gridiron Club purchased new directional and seating placards and the large “Go Terriers” sign which now hangs on the side of the Coleman Center. Game day flags waved in the fall breezes, as well as banners featuring the senior players. Travel support was also part of the club’s service to the Hiram football program by providing hotel accommodations for one of the longer away-game trips in 2013. The club helped drive repairs and renovations to the tunnel from Martin Fieldhouse out onto Henry Field, too.
Parents, current Hiram football players and the team as a whole benefitted from the Gridiron Club’s activities, support and fundraising. Parents appreciated the information about schedule and travel details, fan camaraderie and the chance to interact with many of the players, coaches and former players and alumni every week. The Gridiron Club tailgated for every game – home and away – to cheer on the Terrier team. For families of players who live far from Ohio, the Gridiron Club shared email newsletters weekly, as well as unofficially adopting many long-distance players as their own.
“The Gridiron Club is a positive program for the football team as it provides them additional support besides the parents. It’s great,” said Johnny and Alicia Hernandez from San Diego, parents of Freshman Linebacker Daniel Hernandez. “The club is there before, during and after the games and for the team to know that there is always someone there for support is huge and so motivational for them – a comfort to us.”
Transfer student Vinny Polverine’s mother, Yvonne Polverine, also appreciated the Gridiron Club this season.
“Since we didn’t know anyone at Hiram, the Gridiron Club was a great way to meet players and their families,” Polverine explained. “We enjoyed all the tailgating and especially appreciated meeting all of the Hiram families at away games to cheer on our Terriers. Vinny liked that the Gridiron Club provided food!”
Current Hiram players agree that the food was the best part of the new club! After every home game the Gridiron Club provided a hot meal for players. Homemade treats accompanied main dishes provided by the club, but the game day experience didn’t stop there. The club also supplied a fog machine for home games and encouraged students, faculty, parents and alumni to participate in contests and give-aways at every home game.
Alumni and former players also expressed excitement in the reinvigorated program. Working together with the Hiram Alumni and Development Offices and the Athletic Department, the club encouraged more involvement by providing an atmosphere that celebrated teams from Hiram’s past while actively motivating current players’ success.
A new season brings new opportunities for growth and increased participation. In 2014, the Gridiron Club is looking forward to including more parents in the idea-building process, as well as continuing to raise money and support through their many ventures already in the works. Plans are underway for a spring fundraiser and summer golf outing. Hiram Alumni and former Terrier players are encouraged to get involved in the planning, as well. A group of excited alumni in Indianapolis are already planning a team meal for the away game to DePauw in the 2014 season.
“As football parents, we want to help our sons succeed,” Ted Dickerhoof, president of the Gridiron Club and parent of Senior Offensive Lineman Harrison Dickerhoof, explained. “Raising more money is always a goal, but we can help our sons, our team and our program best by getting involved. It really makes a difference to our boys and our success. Are we where we want to be yet? No, but it’s been a great start!”
Contact the Hiram College Athletic Department for information on joining the Gridiron Club.